Our goal in a session is to help the student learn and understand - not just to help them get an answer to a single question. Here are some tips to add depth to your sessions. Don’t worry - you don’t have to do all of this every time! Choose what fits best for your session.
Provide more detail and share tips.
- If a student is unclear on how to do something or what comes next, give more detail when you point them in the right direction.
- Share some helpful reminders.
- “The way you can tell this is a right triangle is that this little mark in the corner. That means the angle is 90 degrees.”
- “I always remember it like this: The < looks like a little alligator, and the alligator always wants to eat the biggest number, so the open mouth is towards the side that’s biggest.”
Check their understanding.
- Avoid questions like, “Do you understand why we did that?” Students often say “yes” because they’re uncomfortable admitting they don’t know.
- Try questions that don’t have yes or no answers:
- “Why did we do that?”
- “Can you explain how you think that works?”
- “Can you explain that back to me?”
- Ask related questions:
- “How would the answer change if this was a minus sign instead?”
- “What would we do if there was a three here?”
Show them how to double-check their answer.
- If there’s a good method for quickly checking their answer, show them. That can be a huge help on a test!
Quickly summarize steps.
- For common processes, summarize the steps and add notes to reference later.
For short sessions -
MathElf's free trial students have a 5-minute minimum session length. We want to make sure that students are getting at least 5 minutes of great help in every session. Here are some great suggestions for ways that you can go further in your MathElf sessions that are a little shorter.
See if the student has another problem.
- Be sure to see if the student has another problem they’d like to work on before you go.
- Example phrases:
- “Is there another question you wanted help with today?”
- “I’d be happy to work on another problem with you. Do you want to upload another picture?”
Do a similar example.
- If they don’t have another problem from their homework to use, do a similar example to reinforce the steps.
- Make up a problem yourself or get a similar problem here.
- Good lead ins:
- “Let’s do one more like that to make sure you’ve got it!”
- “Here’s a similar problem so you can practice the steps one more time.”
- “That was great! Now, try to do this one on your own.”
- Avoid asking things like, “Do you want to do one more?” Students will usually just say no, even though they probably need the practice.